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Student Publication Brings Together Body of International Art and Design Research

26 November 2012 – Students at the Royal College of Art have published a book stemming from their inaugural conference last year, pulling together a rigorous body of international art and design research.

Student Research publication, The Edge of Our Thinking
Student Research publication, The Edge of Our Thinking

The book, The Edge of Our Thinking, is a collection of 13 papers by student researchers from colleges across England, Wales, Germany and Italy, distilling key topics that emerged at the multi-disciplinary conference of the same name in November 2011.

'It gives a strong overview of what research in art and design can do’, according to editor, RCA Critical Writing in Art and Design research student Florian Schmidt. Book content has been organised into themes exploring art and design research through notions of physicality and form, from the three-dimensional through to the linear and intangible. 'It draws a line from the more classical research through to the more experimental,' Schmidt added.

Among the papers are RCA Design Interactions PhD candidate Julijonas Urbonas’ proposal on socially acceptable and non-criminal euthanasia, Designing Death: g-Design, Fatal Aesthetics and Social Science Fiction, and University of Sunderland Photography PhD candidate Juliet Chenery-Robson’s Visualisation of the Invisible Illness ME.

‘Artistic research is especially adequate in addressing some of these more intangible issues,’ Schmidt said. ‘And what you see from these papers is that practice-based research fills a gap that classic research cannot. You see how practice and the visual are counterpart to theory, but both sides hold each other.’

Schmidt chose papers for their academic rigour and robust logic, but also for their appeal to an audience beyond the conference.

Organised by a team of seven research students, the _Edge of Our Thinking _conference last November brought together an international group of young researchers to discuss current perspectives in art and design research through a variety of practice and theory-based subject areas. The two-day programme of presentations and workshops offered a unique opportunity for critical interdisciplinary exchange. Together with the biennial exhibition, such student-led initiatives offer students an opportunity to disseminate research findings, meet new audiences and network to develop their profiles in a high-level, interdisciplinary setting.

‘The conference was a chance to step outside ourselves and start dialogues,’ said Nanette Hoogslag, one of the conference organisers and designer of the book. ‘Based on the quality of the papers at the conference and enthusiasm within the College, the book felt like a natural step. It grew from being a PDF resource to become a proper book,' she added.

The design of the book maintains visual continuity with the conference. An out of focus effect around headings and the cover edges aims to convey the idea of shifting surfaces and a playfulness of what the ‘edge’ could be.

The Edge of Our Thinking will available through the College’s research department and will be followed by a research student exhibition in January.